Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cancer and Industrialism: My Findings and Therapy

Well, I've recently been diagnosed with cancer, to become the latest in a long line of victims of industrialism. I've long known I was psychologically allergic to industrialism and its attendant stressors, and it seems I'm physically allergic to it as well. In fact, my current thinking, based on my long-held belief that cancer is an industrial disease--it is not per se a lifestyle or hereditary disease--is that the increase in cancers and other widely spreading diseases are allergic reactions to industrialism. Modern medicine then focuses on dealing with these symptoms, while doing little to nothing to advocate for the cessation of their root causes.

Before I go any further here, let me clarify what I mean by cancer today being an industrial as opposed to a genetic disease. It's true that cancer has been around far longer than industrialism has. In fact, every person has cancer cells in their body. Well, this is a bit of a misnomer. They're actually pre-cancerous, or have a higher potential to turn cancerous. As part of the normal cell process of producing energy from oxygen, free-radicals are produced which can cause damage to a cell which may then turn cancerous. Other factors are then involved in whether that cell continues to live, infect other cells, and spread. In a healthy organism, processes exist to neutralize free-radicals and kill cancer cells, and remove them as waste.

So, to use the bit of blame-shifting favored by the pharmaceutical industry that says cancer has a hereditary or genetic basis is a bit disingenuous, since merely being human creates the possibility to develop cancer. One's lifestyle can create a situation conducive to cancer cells taking hold and spreading, but in the toxic world industrialism has created, those situations have been magnified by a few orders of magnitude. Let's look at just a few of the industrial and industrial lifestyle factors.

Poor oxygenation can lead normal cells to turn cancerous. When cells can't get enough oxygen, they turn to fermenting sugars for their energy, and this is the prime difference between a healthy cell and a cancerous cell. Factors that cause poor oxygenation are buildup of toxins and lack of exercise. A lack of the essential fatty acids needed in cell walls also blocks oxygen exchange. As cancer cells ferment energy they produce excess lactic acid which is toxic, and tends to prevent the transport of oxygen into neighboring normal cells. So the cancer spreads if not destroyed by the immune system. The treatments of choice today, chemo and radiation therapy, do kill cancer cells. However, they also damage respiratory enzymes in healthy cells and overload them with toxins--increasing the chances they become cancerous.

In light of the above, let's just think for a moment about industrial farming and food processing, which not only don't provide the nutrients necessary for good health, but also puts more toxins into the body, and/or contribute large amounts of what cancer cells love and thrive on most--refined white sugar. Let's think about the foods we eat that aren't even food, like American cheese and Twinkies. Let's think about sedentary industrial lifestyles of affluence. Let's think about the air and water that industrialism has turned toxic, and the toxic materials in the buildings where we live and work. And then there's plastics...

There are tens of thousands of man-made chemicals floating, flowing, and buried within the thin sliver of biosphere that humans and the other species that make up the web of life can exist within. 20,000 of them are known carcinogens. These chemicals can't exist naturally, and living organisms haven't developed defenses against them. These chemicals tend to be bio-accumulative, are environmentally persistent (their half-lives are ten to fifty thousand years), and are lipophilic (they travel rapidly up the food chain). The vast majority of these chemicals are toxins, neurotoxins, mutagens, or carcinogens whose toxicity and effects are studied in isolation, not in the combinations that actually occur in our bodies and the environment.

Properly fed, exercised, and enveloped in a healthy environment of mutually supportive relationships, the human immune system can handle most things nature can throw at it, but not those of man. I hope I also don't have to explain why I'm sticking to using the male gender in this regard.

The details on my own case are that I went to the emergency room on Aug. 10 with severe abdominal pain and an apparent intestinal blockage (the symptoms pretty much just suddenly flared up in an otherwise healthy body), was diagnosed with colon cancer on Aug. 11, and had my descending colon removed on Aug. 13 by the trauma surgery team at University Medical Center here in Tucson. The pathology report on the section of colon and mass of tissue removed with and around the tumor said the margins were clear (no cancer on either end of the section of colon removed), out of the total of 34 nodes removed only three in the tumor vicinity tested positive, and although the tumor had grown through the wall of the colon it hadn't spread to any other tissue or organs. So, overall the prognosis is good. For those of you familiar with cancer stages, I had a Stage III cancerous tumor: t-3, n-1, m-0.

I finally got to meet with the oncologist on Sept. 11, and like all good cancer docs, he explained the situation, added up the scientifically measurable parameters, and said the only recommended treatment is chemotherapy. If adding up the "markers" had produced a smaller number chemo wouldn't have been called for. A larger number, or if other existing tumors had been seen in the CT scans, and radiation therapy would be added. No other variables are considered, nor thought to be warranted for consideration, such as diet changes, other cancer fighting, immune boosting or detoxifying agents that are not manufactured by BigPharma, or doing a Body Burden test to see if there might be a link to industrialism that has bioaccumulated in the body and might need to be dealt with.

There's no accurate test to see if there's actually any cancer left in the body after surgical tumor removal. The theory is that there might be some cancer cells floating through the bloodstream that are just looking for a place to attach and grow into a mass large enough to detect, which could take up to 5 years. But, that's basically the case for everyone, whether they've had a tumor detected or not.

The statistics for my type and severity of colon cancer are that 60% will have another tumor in 3-5 years if no course of treatment is followed, and that drops to 34-40% (depending on which combination of toxic drugs and side-effects you're willing to tolerate) with chemo. There seems to be a remarkable absence of information (from allopathic medicine) on the 40% who don't experience tumor recurrence within 5 years.

Further muddying the waters is the difference allopathic medicine tries to make between "complementary" and "alternative" treatments. In fact, we were warned by a social worker at the UMC Cancer Center to use the former term rather than the latter when we met with the oncologist--if we didn't want a negative reaction from him. Complementary to them seems to means the status quo--chemo--remains the treatment modality of choice, and they're willing to hear about you tacking on a few extras, like vitamins. However, they just can't accept that you just might be looking for something that really is a true alternative--meaning giving yourself an option to heal without making yourself sicker. The healthy immune system that is so necessary to health and healing is taken to the point of not functioning at all by chemo/radiation therapy in the hope that since the cancer cells are weaker, they'll die before the healthy cells do, and that you don't come down with something else fatal while your immune system has been intentionally compromised. Only a disease care model of medicine could come up with this one.

But the fact of the matter is that certain natural substances support the body's natural defense system, and have certain properties that help fight cancer cells, provide support to the immune system, and clear the body of toxins. Pharmaceutical drugs merely attempt to copy these processes, but because they're not natural, they have a number of unpleasant and/or potentially fatal side effects.

Let's take the "nutritional supplement" coenzyme Q10 (a compound that is made naturally in the body known as ubiquinone, which decreases as we age), which is sold as CoQ10, and compare it to the cancer drug fluorouricil, called 5-FU. They both kill cancer cells by triggering apoptosis, or cell death. This natural cell mechanism gets turned off in cancer cells.

However, because CoQ 10 isn't a toxic synthetic, it won't hurt healthy cells or cause major reactions in the body. Also, it's sold over the counter, isn't based on fossil fuels, or subject to corporate patent and profit. This latter point is extremely important to keep in mind. We're getting more and more doctors who have gone to med school on drug company scholarships, and BigPharms's influence, due to their affluence, on medical research is well known. Industrial Pharma has spent and continues to spend billions on lobbyists and legislators to ensure the status quo remains near impossible to change and that no challengers can arise.

The one commonality I keep running across as I research all these things, though, is that whether the treatment regimen decided upon is allopathic or natural, the largest determinant in treatment success is attitude. And, you know, it just seems to make more sense to me that keeping a good attitude is going to be one whole helluva lot easier if I don't put more of industrialism's toxic products into my body while it's busy getting healthy again with natural supplements, supported by the loving energy of so many others and the natural world itself.

So, the cancer treatment I've decided on includes the following.

Killing the cancer cells: Therapeutic doses (200 mg twice daily) of CoQ10 to kill cancer cells and support oxygenation. Starving the cancer cells by eliminating refined sugar from my diet. Regular exercise--the most natural way to oxygenate cells. Selenium (2-3 Brazil nuts daily). Some studies show selenium to be as effective as current chemotherapies, but it can be toxic in very high doses so don't over do it.

Immune system support: Pycnogenol (French Maritime Pine Bark extract) 25 mg twice daily, which is an antioxidant and recycles vitamins C & E in the body. Noni Juice (1 oz twice daily) which is a powerful antioxidant. Essiac tea (burdock root, sheep sorrel, Indian rhubarb, slippery elm bark)--which is also a powerful detoxifier--twice daily. This is the basic Ojibwa recipe, which also seems to be called Medicine Man tea.

Detoxifying and healthy cell support: Alkaline diet (no coffee or alcohol, powdered barley grass juice once a day or so). The Mediterranean Diet is also recommended (switch to olive oil, LOTS of veggies and whole grains, minimal meat). Flaxseed to oxygenate cells (mixed with cottage cheese or added to soy protein drink with green bananas and almond butter). Vitamin D from sunlight (20 minutes/day as naked as you're comfortable being between the hours of 10am-2pm). Primadophilus (5 billion CFU probiotic). Calcium and a B-complex. Whole grains only. And, I'll be adding Oxy-E for oxygenation and cleansing cells of toxins and lactic acid as soon as we can afford a therapeutic dose (2-4 bottles/month).

There are, of course, other things that can be done to naturally support the body which we might be adding (or have started to use occasionally to supplement) as we go along, or that you can look into for your own needs. These include mushrooms (shiitake, reishi, and cordyceps especially if you're undergoing any type of chemotherapy), Fu Zheng, coconut oil, broccoli sprouts, papaya extract, alphalipoic acid (less expensive than pycnogenol), etc.

The main thing you want to do is return to and stay in balance. Industrialism has created an extremely toxic world, and depends on lifestyles that are so stressful that you don't have the time to do what's good for you. You want to kill the cancer cells that are in your body, not create an environment that allows them to grow (refined sugars, simple carbohydrates, overly processed food with unpronounceable ingredients), detoxify your system from the body burden we all carry, and support healthy cells and the immune system so they can resist infection and damage and do their job.

As I mentioned earlier, another extremely important factor in healing (some say the most important factor) is emotional and spiritual health--a healthy and positive attitude. In the same manner as nature has provided the body with means to repair damaged or injured cells, it also provides the means to repair and heal damaged psyches and souls. I'm a big believer in regular reconnecting with nature activities, which is more powerful than meditation alone. Nature can inform you of what you need to know once you remember how to listen.

The above is a description of my approach to keeping the cells that comprise my body healthy and cancer-resistant. I have also been blessed with alternative healers that have so generously shared their gifts we me, including forms of energy healing, massage, reflexology, etc.

The real work, however, begins after the body heals: taking down industrialism. But, that's another article. Actually, it's an excellent two-volume set by Derrick Jensen, "Endgame, Vols. 1 & 2."

A lot of people have also been saying there is a lesson to be learned in my getting sick, and I don't doubt that one bit. I'm not quite sure what it might be, though, but I do have an inkling. I'm sure I'll be writing about it sometime soon.

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